Database - Term Overview

Home | Database - Term Overview

A database, or also a data bank, is called a set of information belonging to the same context, ordered in a systematic way for subsequent retrieval, analysis and / or transmission. There are many forms of databases today, ranging from a library to the vast user data sets of a telecommunications company.

Databases are the product of the human need to store information, that is, to preserve it against time and deterioration, in order to be able to access it later. In this sense, the appearance of electronics and computing provided the indispensable digital element for storing enormous amounts of data in limited physical spaces, thanks to its conversion into electrical or magnetic signals.

The management of the databases is carried out through management systems (called DBMS for its acronym in English: Database Management Systems or Database Management Systems ), currently digital and automated, which allow the orderly storage and rapid recovery of the information. In this technology is the very principle of computing.

In the creation of a database, different models and paradigms can be followed, each one endowed with characteristics, advantages and difficulties, emphasizing its organizational structure, its hierarchy, its transmission or interrelation capacity, etc. This is known as database models and allows the design and implementation of algorithms and other logical management mechanisms, as the specific case may be.

Types of databases

There are different classifications of the databases, attending to specific characteristics:

- According to its variability: According to the data recovery and preservation processes, we can talk about:

  • Static databases: Typical of business intelligence and other areas of historical analysis, they are read-only databases, from which information can be extracted, but not already existing.
  • Dynamic databases: Apart from the basic query operations, these databases handle updating, reorganization, addition and deletion of information.
- According to its content: According to the nature of the information contained, they can be:
  • Bibliographic: They contain a variety of reading material (books, magazines, etc.) arranged based on key information such as the author, publisher, year of appearance, subject area or book title, among many other possibilities.
  • Full text: They are handled with historical or documentary texts, whose preservation must be at all levels and are considered primary sources.
  • Directories: Huge lists of personalized data or email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Companies services handle huge patronage directories, for example.
  • Specialized: Databases of hyperspecialized or technical information, designed based on the specific needs of a specific audience that consumes said information.

Database examples

Some possible examples of databases throughout history are:

- Telephone directories: While in disuse, these voluminous books used to contain thousands of telephone numbers assigned to homes, businesses and individuals, to allow the user to find the one he needed. They were cumbersome, heavy, but complete.
- Personal files: The set of life writings of an author, researcher or intellectual are often preserved in an archive, which is organized based on the preservation and reproduction of the originals, allowing them to be consulted without putting the original document at risk.
- Public libraries: The perfect example of databases, as they contain thousands or hundreds of thousands of records belonging to each book title available for loan, either in room or circulating, and of which there may be more than one copy in the deposit. Librarians are in charge of designing these systems and ensuring their operation.
- Transaction records: The operations carried out with a credit card, as well as the calls made with a cell phone, or other types of daily business transactions, all generate a set of records that will be placed in a company database.
- Medical history: Every time we go to the doctor or a hospital, the information regarding our health, the treatment received and other medical details is updated in a file that records our medical history, in case in the future it's required to know specific data, such as operations or treatments received.

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